In November 2016, the lead study members of Medical Oncologists’ Beliefs, Practices, and Knowledge Regarding Marijuana Used Therapeutically: A Nationally Represented Survey Study sent surveys to a random 400 medical oncologists from across the nation on what the title entails.
Cancer is a qualifying condition for medical cannabis in all legal states but one and it is a constant topic in the community for good reason. Cannabis has been shown to be the only medicine that works for some of the side effects of cancer due to chemotherapy and other treatments, such as nausea, loss of appetite and pain in countless cases around the world.
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It may be one of the most discussed topics in the cannabis world, but that message doesn’t seem to be reaching the people who need the information most, the doctors who treat the cancer. The survey found that while 80% of the respondees said that they had discussed medical marijuana with patients, only 30% felt equipped to do so.
Many oncologists failed to respond at all, the response rate at 63 percent. We can only speculate at their hesitation to respond, but it seems that they would fall in the ranks of simply not knowing how to respond, much like the survey showed a gross lack of knowledge on the subject.
Forty-six percent of the oncologists did end up recommending the use of cannabis to patients during said discussions, showing some open mindedness on the part of some doctors who clearly feel uninformed.
The study concluded in its abstract that the results show “a concerning discrepancy between oncologists’ self-reported knowledge base and their beliefs and practices regarding MM… A majority believes MM is useful for certain indications. These findings are clinically important and suggest critical gaps in research, medical education, and policy regarding MM.”
But maybe what the results show are an opportunity. The first genius to make an app with a collection of studies from different countries on the effects of cannabis on cancer and cancer symptoms, with an objective summary page on what medical cannabis has been found to be useful and an easy navigation to see a list of the most common symptoms, treatment methods and ways to discuss them with patients will win. Not for themselves, but for a community thirsty for knowledge and the patient base that needs them.